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Transmission Builder Reputation Thread


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#1 Mr. P.

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Posted 15 December 2010 - 10:23 AM

I want to start a sticky thread in this forum.

It's a fact of life that the 4L60 in the GM truck is just stressed to the max, even in stock form you gotta wonder how the truck even limped off the dealer lot when brand new. It's also a fact of life that we silveradoss.com forum members pursue even higher levels of performance from our vehicles. And it's a fact of life that most of us have experienced transmission trouble at one time or another and either hired the services of a transmission tech, or bought an upgraded unit from a specialty transmission rebuilder. As a forum, we have enough experience to share which will be a benefit to everyone.

THREAD PARTICIPATION RULES -
* this is not a "I just bought a transmission" thread, or a cry for help thread - for those topics, you can start a new thread of your own in this forum! This is a reputation thread - you can only share your experience here if you have had a catastrophic transmission failure, OR a successful transmission currently with MORE than 15,000 miles of service, or a year-and-a-half of daily driving, or for 'maximum effort' vehicles at least a season beating the piss out of it in competition.

I am convinced that building a solid transmission is as much automotive art as it is automotive science. I truly believe there are only a *handful* of transmission specialists in this country that REALLY know exactly what they are doing, and I know that they don't get the exposure they deserve. And likewise there are thousands of people calling themselves transmission specialists who have no business being in the business.

Mr. P. :)

Edited by Mr. P., 15 December 2010 - 10:26 AM.

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#2 Mr. P.

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Posted 15 December 2010 - 10:31 AM

I'll start -

Transmission #1 - Joe Gutteriez, aka JAG Performance Transmissions, San Antonio TX - I purchased a "fully built" 4L65E and it lasted about 15-months, catastrophic failure in that the input drum shattered. Transmission kicked like a mule at all times going from 1st to 2nd, wore out the case (egg-holed the anchor point). Upon disassembly found all frictions totally smoked/destroyed as well. Band and beast shell were salvageable. Realized much after the fact I was charged for "5-pinion planet upgrade" when transmission was already a M32. Motor was bone stock, with TCS 2800 converter and Corsa catback.
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#3 Mr. P.

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Posted 15 December 2010 - 10:40 AM

Transmission #2 - Jerry Hereid, dba Jerry's Transmissions. Fully modified 4L65, including 4340 internals and billet shafts etc. Motor is Paxton supercharged LQ9, estimated 500+ ft-lbs torque. Converter is TCS 3000. Transmission now has over a year use and 12K-miles, still runs like day-1. Highly recommend Jerry, he is a true transmission god and his credentials are without question. VERY professional and VERY reasonable. I know that he has many other units in dedicated track cars and daily-driven supercharged trucks with great service records. PM me if you want his number!

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#4 2BFAST

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Posted 15 December 2010 - 11:18 AM

I'll start -

Transmission #1 - Joe Gutteriez, aka JAG Performance Transmissions, San Antonio TX - I purchased a "fully built" 4L65E and it lasted about 15-months, catastrophic failure in that the input drum shattered. Transmission kicked like a mule at all times going from 1st to 2nd, wore out the case (egg-holed the anchor point). Upon disassembly found all frictions totally smoked/destroyed as well. Band and beast shell were salvageable. Realized much after the fact I was charged for "5-pinion planet upgrade" when transmission was already a M32. Motor was bone stock, with TCS 2800 converter and Corsa catback.



Yikes!

My .2 cents are going to be a positive one. Last August I was guided on the build of my 60E by Dan's (retired99) father Jerry Hereid. Steve, myself, and a good handfull of others on this site have had Jerrys hands in their trans and I cant say enough about his knowledge and expert advice towards building transmissions. Transmissions aside hes also a good guy to shoot the shit with as well. Two thumbs up

Edited by 2BFAST, 15 December 2010 - 11:20 AM.

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#5 blackbeast ss

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Posted 16 December 2010 - 12:25 AM

transmission #1 i got my tranny build by juan (chpspecial's brother)fully build and still holding strong.it has been 2 years since its been build on a 12 second truck and not a single issue.i would highly recommend JUAN a very stand up guy with reasonable prices :squintnoeswerdrun:
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#6 chpspecial

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Posted 16 December 2010 - 11:02 PM

Transmission #1

this transmission was built by my brother and his mentor. It was a basic transgo HD-2c shift kit with full billet servos with a TBTC. It was installed when the turbo kit went on the truck with 20k miles. The trans lasted ~22k miles. It finally gave up when I was tunning for 12#+ of boost at 130+mph when the trans started to slip. (EDIT: I for got to mention that we were using the brakes to keep the truck form accelerating wildly while tunning all areas of the VE table, at 12#+ of boost the stock brakes couldn't keep the truck at >80mph hense the various 130+mph runs, which might have iniciated the trans slip at high speed :peelout: ) nothing major broken nor was there any hard damage other than burned up clutches and burnt trans fluid. By now the truck had just over 42k miles and would still shift fine, but would slip in 4th gear at any speed. It also had countless 1/8th mile and 1/4 miles passes as well as numerous WOT launches with a fastest 1/4 mile time in the low 12 due to a bad cylinder and many sub 7.8 second 1/8th mile passes.

Transmission #2

Fully built by my brother once again. All the good stuff plus billet input/output shafts. Installed all the parts as per Mr.P's recomendation (Thanks Mr. P). Life started at 42k miles, the truck now has over three years with the trans, plus 35k miles totalling 77k miles and the trans fluid still smells like new, and never missed a shift. truck now holds 10# and 15# of boost and haven't had any issues yet.

I do credit some of the longevity of my trans to the tunning. I am using some un-orthodox parameter that have helped me quite a bit.

Edited by chpspecial, 16 December 2010 - 11:18 PM.

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#7 Mr. P.

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Posted 20 December 2010 - 11:49 AM

I worked on a SSS truck project this last weekend; this particular truck has had 2 owners, both of which are members of this forum. In fact this truck was a forum favorite appearing in a past sss.com truck calendar and I *believe* was even a TOTM winner at one point in time. The original owner had taken the truck to New Era Performance in Rochester NY with essentially a blank check and orders to make the truck stupid fast, costs be damned. End result was a cam/spring change, Radix install, nitrous kit, tuning, full exhaust, guages, converter, and (quoting from the invoice) "built transmission". After the truck changed ownership I was contacted by the second owner because the transmission violently kicked like a mule on the 1-2 shift no matter how soft or aggressive it was driven, to the point of discomfort; the trans was removed, torn down for inspection. The itemized charges on the New Era Performance invoice for this built transmission read as follows: "upgraded clutches, Beast shell, 5 planetary pinions - $1200; Zippy shift kit - $230". That's $1430 for the built transmission, and it had 15K-miles on it when pulled. The following was documented:

  • modifications found were: Alto wide band, Beast shell, Superior shift kit, .490 boost valve, billet servos, and drilled separator plate
  • there was soot in the pan :uhoh:
  • all clutches & steels were stock OE material and configuration (not upgraded as mentioned in the invoice)
  • Beast shell did not have a mirror finish? (this finish must be polished/smooth)
  • 3/4 clutch pack had excessive clearance and showing evidence of resulting slippage
  • accumulator pistons were unchanged (all factory plastic) and the forward accumulator piston had failed (cracked)
  • all hard parts (shafts, gears, collars, etc) were factory OE - no upgraded hard parts present
  • the main drum was not sleeved/reinforced
  • it was impossible to 'upgrade to 5 planetary pinions' because the transmission already had them stock (model 4L65-E, RPO M32)
  • there was no High-Rev kit installed (to assure oiling above 5500-RPM)
  • no provisioning was made in the drum to prevent centrifugal clutch apply above 5000-RPM
  • factory (weak) sprag (not the 29-element B/W sprag)
  • no modifications/changes found in the pump
  • the band anchoring hole (inside the main case) was eggholed out-of-round from the shift kit's violent hit on the 1-2 upshift and the main outer transmission case will have to be thrown out and replaced

So what we have here is $1430 paid for a bone-stock 4L65 rebuild/refresh with an aftermarket band, shell, and shift kit. It didn't last long, and there was frankly never a hope of this unit surviving behind a nitroused, Radixed, cammed LQ9. :ughdance: :sick: :shakehead: In fact it wouldn't last behind a stock motor, due to the loose 3/4 clutch pack, plastic accumulator pistons, and eggholed band anchor (causes loose band & slippage).

Usually performance shops will outsource their transmission builds, but evidence in the invoices makes it pretty clear all work was done by Brian at New Era Performance. The worst part is invoicing/charging the customer for 5-pinion planetary gearsets when the transmission already had them - normally these gearsets are about $500 ($250 each). IMO the invoice should have read "REbuilt" instead of "Built" transmission.

The present owner of the truck was expecting to just open the transmission and perform some corrections on the valve body and correct the shift behavior - he did not expect to find that the past transmission builder turned a perfectly good 4L65 into a pile of junk where not even the case was worth saving. The shame is, to have done the job right would have initially only cost another few hundred dollars. :shakehead:

Mr. P.

Edited by Mr. P., 20 December 2010 - 11:58 AM.

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#8 moog5050

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Posted 20 December 2010 - 01:36 PM

I worked on a SSS truck project this last weekend; this particular truck has had 2 owners, both of which are members of this forum. In fact this truck was a forum favorite appearing in a past sss.com truck calendar and I *believe* was even a TOTM winner at one point in time. The original owner had taken the truck to New Era Performance in Rochester NY with essentially a blank check and orders to make the truck stupid fast, costs be damned. End result was a cam/spring change, Radix install, nitrous kit, tuning, full exhaust, guages, converter, and (quoting from the invoice) "built transmission". After the truck changed ownership I was contacted by the second owner because the transmission violently kicked like a mule on the 1-2 shift no matter how soft or aggressive it was driven, to the point of discomfort; the trans was removed, torn down for inspection. The itemized charges on the New Era Performance invoice for this built transmission read as follows: "upgraded clutches, Beast shell, 5 planetary pinions - $1200; Zippy shift kit - $230". That's $1430 for the built transmission, and it had 15K-miles on it when pulled. The following was documented:

  • modifications found were: Alto wide band, Beast shell, Superior shift kit, .490 boost valve, billet servos, and drilled separator plate
  • there was soot in the pan :uhoh:
  • all clutches & steels were stock OE material and configuration (not upgraded as mentioned in the invoice)
  • Beast shell did not have a mirror finish? (this finish must be polished/smooth)
  • 3/4 clutch pack had excessive clearance and showing evidence of resulting slippage
  • accumulator pistons were unchanged (all factory plastic) and the forward accumulator piston had failed (cracked)
  • all hard parts (shafts, gears, collars, etc) were factory OE - no upgraded hard parts present
  • the main drum was not sleeved/reinforced
  • it was impossible to 'upgrade to 5 planetary pinions' because the transmission already had them stock (model 4L65-E, RPO M32)
  • there was no High-Rev kit installed (to assure oiling above 5500-RPM)
  • no provisioning was made in the drum to prevent centrifugal clutch apply above 5000-RPM
  • factory (weak) sprag (not the 29-element B/W sprag)
  • no modifications/changes found in the pump
  • the band anchoring hole (inside the main case) was eggholed out-of-round from the shift kit's violent hit on the 1-2 upshift and the main outer transmission case will have to be thrown out and replaced

So what we have here is $1430 paid for a bone-stock 4L65 rebuild/refresh with an aftermarket band, shell, and shift kit. It didn't last long, and there was frankly never a hope of this unit surviving behind a nitroused, Radixed, cammed LQ9. :ughdance: :sick: :shakehead: In fact it wouldn't last behind a stock motor, due to the loose 3/4 clutch pack, plastic accumulator pistons, and eggholed band anchor (causes loose band & slippage).

Usually performance shops will outsource their transmission builds, but evidence in the invoices makes it pretty clear all work was done by Brian at New Era Performance. The worst part is invoicing/charging the customer for 5-pinion planetary gearsets when the transmission already had them - normally these gearsets are about $500 ($250 each). IMO the invoice should have read "REbuilt" instead of "Built" transmission.

The present owner of the truck was expecting to just open the transmission and perform some corrections on the valve body and correct the shift behavior - he did not expect to find that the past transmission builder turned a perfectly good 4L65 into a pile of junk where not even the case was worth saving. The shame is, to have done the job right would have initially only cost another few hundred dollars. :shakehead:

Mr. P.



As the former owner of this truck, this is very disappointing. I guess I should have known New Era was to be questioned when they had a hard time with the shift kit from Zippy. I had to ask Zippy to speak with them directly about the install problem they said they were having. The tranny did work fine while I owned it, but I never really used the nitrous (small 75 shot only 2 or 3 times). I did most of the radix install myself (they helped identify a fueling issue I couldn't figure out when it was running lean) but I did the install. I also did all the nitrous work. I was very proud of this truck and am sorry to hear the tranny and alternator were not what was represented and that I paid for. I told Mike if there is anuthing I can do to help, I will. Thanks for the update and honest assessment.
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#9 04CHASE

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Posted 20 December 2010 - 01:43 PM

ill put a good rep fpr toy shop

however i always beat on my truck and raced regularly .

driving style is the biggest stress factor on a trans . so a decent built trans can last a certain person 15k miles with 500 rwhp while a built trans with an agressive driver may only last 5k .

all i can say is any person with a gm truck that plans to push it past 500 rwhp and beat on it , save yourself some time and do an 80e swap . although the shifting isnt as crisp and predicatable as a 65e it is reliable .

i have maybe 400-500 miles on a fully built 80e and it just seems to laugh at whatever i can throw at it. time will ltell as i need a trans blanket for safety soon .
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#10 Mr. P.

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Posted 20 December 2010 - 01:46 PM

... I did most of the radix install myself ... I also did all the nitrous work. I was very proud of this truck and am sorry to hear the tranny and alternator were not what was represented and that I paid for...

Thank you sir for correcting me - I wrongly assumed that New Era did the Radix and nitrous install, and I apologise for misrepresenting that. And there is nothing at all to be sorry for as there was no wrong doing or direct misrepresentation on your part, I experienced the same exact thing with my first 4L65 build in my own truck with JAG Performance (in not getting what you paid for) and I completely empathize with your situation. Onward and upward!

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#11 moog5050

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Posted 20 December 2010 - 02:53 PM

Thank you sir for correcting me - I wrongly assumed that New Era did the Radix and nitrous install, and I apologise for misrepresenting that. And there is nothing at all to be sorry for as there was no wrong doing or direct misrepresentation on your part, I experienced the same exact thing with my first 4L65 build in my own truck with JAG Performance (in not getting what you paid for) and I completely empathize with your situation. Onward and upward!

Mr. P.



No problem Mr. P. No offense taken. I am glad Mike found someone honest and competent to bring this truck back to life. I spent lots of money, and more importantly, blood, sweat and tears building it. I told Mike, the sad part is that this truck was my first project and my first real mechanical work and I am certain that the work I did was better than the so called "experts" because I was so careful. I just wouldn't take on a tranny with no experience - but I guess I couldn't have done any worse. Not so easy for a first timer to do tranny work (no pun here). Its sad that you really can't trust anyone. Now modding an 08 vette and I will be the only one laying my hands on it. In any event, good luck with building it better and faster. My wife is still mad that I sold it, but it found a good home.

Edited by moog5050, 20 December 2010 - 02:54 PM.

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#12 Gasemall

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Posted 20 December 2010 - 03:30 PM

Never had any real problems with it Brian. Loved the truck, as u know, right up until it burned to the ground...and even then. So much so that parts are worth ressurecting. This has been great learning, at a price. Just really glad it's in Jerrys hands. He was there to answer questions for me on the SS I bought before yours. He's top notch. Helped me when he had no financial incentive. Using him now is my payback to him. Cheers !
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#13 2BFAST

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Posted 20 December 2010 - 04:26 PM

Just really glad it's in Jerrys hands. He was there to answer questions for me on the SS I bought before yours. He's top notch. Helped me when he had no financial incentive. Using him now is my payback to him. Cheers !


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#14 brobradh77

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Posted 20 December 2010 - 07:02 PM

+1 for Jerry....him, Danny, and the help of JAson got my tranny swapped out at a good price
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Posted 20 December 2010 - 11:59 PM

As with anything, things can be hit or miss, outside of right out being taken for a ride. But anyway, I've had my FLT vacuum modulated LVL V with billet shafts installed since the latter part of 2006 and over 55k miles, it has always had a Radix w/2.8" pulley in front of it, sporadic shot's of a 75hp hit and has never had a single hiccup in that time. It may die tomorrow, but I would say it's held up remarkably well thus far.

Edited by Bear, 21 December 2010 - 12:33 AM.

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